By Andile Dladla and Mandla Dladla
The Covid-19 pandemic has changed the world so much that it has affected our lives and the business of football in a much more serious manner than many people anticipated.
This season has been particularly difficult and very different from previous seasons and in truth, the pandemic has made it very challenging for football agents especially when it comes to player movements.
One of the most passionate local agents – Palisa Mkhize – considered by many as the most hardworking agents, has adopted a completely different approach when it comes to players he represents and the relationships he has over the years built with them.
“It is hard to recommend players to football clubs these days because we can’t go out a lot and scout for new talent due to the unfortunate and tragic times that we find ourselves living in,”| said Mkhize.
“Right now by the look of things most of the players that are being signed on the domestic front are those that are being demanded by Premier League and GladAfrica Championship sides especially those whose contracts are coming to an end.
However, the work of an agent is delicate, intricate, difficult and very challenging at most and requires an awful lot of hard work and sleepless nights before one can be satisfied with the end result.
The question remains as to how Mkhize got started in the first place.
“I can’t even remember when this journey began, suffice to say I was a footballer myself but fell in love more with the business side of things.
“I used to find myself organising logistics like transport and arranging friendly games for the guys I played with and it would be against teams like Mamelodi Sundowns and Kaizer Chiefs reserves.”
At the age of 24 Mkhize travelled to the United Kingdom for a holiday and that’s when he officially retired from football. Upon his return his then former teammates spoke about it and that’s when the “Agent” in Mkhize came to mind.
“There was a player called Chippa Mokala who was spotted by the late Ted Dumitru and I was driving by then and would take him for trials as he was invited by the former coach. Mokala went on to sign with Silver Stars after I gave him my last soccer boots and that’s when I realised that for me this was a calling.
“Two years later I did a course with SAFA and received my Agency Certificate but later on it was scrapped due to the introduction of intermediaries.
“I’ve since travelled to far-away places like the Free State province and met coaches and players like coaches Morena Ramoreboli, Vincent Pule and Thembinkosi Lorch.
“Few might be aware that I used to travel a lot with Ben Motshwari and took him to countless teams including African Warriors, Baroka FC and we knocked on so many doors, it wasn’t easy and it’s been eight years now.
“I have heard a lot about how unfair players are treated by some of my peers and how some are only present when contract negotiations are due to take place. I’ve also heard claims that some players are represented by individuals they’ve never even met but only know the people who work for that particular agency.
“This got me thinking, that as a young and vibrant football representative I have to be different. When I sign a player I sit down with him or her and put my cards on the table by way of talking about everything.
“I believe in this way, bring open and frank from the start, it is a way of building a solid relationship so we are able to discuss personal things affecting the player. That is what we are striving to achieve at Pulse Players Management.”
Football agents don’t usually respond to the question when asked about the team they support but Mkhize managed to share his love with us for Orlando Pirates and expressed his admiration for the style of football that the team has produced over the years.
Because of what he does Mkhize also supports the teams of the players he represents like Ben Motshwari, Linda Mtambo (both Pirates) and Mxolisi Machupu (TS Galaxy) because he wants them to do well for their respective clubs.
He has also learned a lot of life lessons as well as football in general from legendary Stanley “Screamer” Tshabalala who loved how he is able to spot rare talent and how things should be done in order to play a role in the development of a player.